Water Quality in New Zealand

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Water is significant to New Zealands environmental, economic, cultural and social well-being. Fresh water is important since it provides the primary sectors such as tourism, production and energy their advantage of being competitive all over the world. It is also highly valued for the recreational aspects associated with it. The fresh water underpins the importance of New Zealands biodiversity and the natural heritage. The New Zealands fresh water is known for its cultural significance since it has natural beauty and intrinsic values. The importance of New Zealands Fresh water is attributed to the Treaty of Waitangi (Te Tiriti Waitangi) and is known to be the underlying foundation of Crown-iwi/ hapu relationship. The treaty is addressing the tangata whenua values and interests across the country. It has also included the iwi and hapu in the overall management of the fresh water and this are significant to the meaning of the treaty as without these regions the treaty would become null and void. All the New Zealanders have the common responsibility of ensuring that the interest of the country fresh water is wisely managed.

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New Zealands National Rivers Water Quality Network (NRWQN) is in its third decade after its commencement in 1980 by Smith and Mc Bride, 1990. The body was mainly established as a concerned and the need of the clean water. The body conducts the collection of data which is then analyzed to evaluate the quality of water in all the rivers and lakes within New Zealand. Before the 1980s, there have been the anthropogenic impacts of the polluted water and thus there was a need to develop a body that would ensure that the rivers and lakes are not polluted. It was known that there should be effective national scale and management of the water resources through the monitoring of the data collected from those rivers. Monthly data collected is done in the 35 major rivers that are spread throughout the New Zealand country. The network developed by NRWQN is important for the monitoring of the water data variables collected. The NRWQN is considered an important databse for the underpinning of the hydrometric database which was supported in the year 2009 by the New Zealand Foundation for Research Science and Technology (New Zealand, 2012).

Zealand has been facing challenges in terms of managing the fresh water and this shows why the quality, health, availability and economic value of water to all the New Zealanders is under threat. If the challenges are not adequately addressed, they might continue to impact all the people for quite a length of time. New Zealand can therefore, address these challenges by understanding the resources and the threats that are associated with them and therefore, the management framework should be enabled in order to contribute to the growth of economic growth and integrity of the New Zealand rivers and lakes and thus effectively provide for the values which important to all the New Zealanders. When the rivers and lakes provide important values that are required by all the New Zealanders, the growth and development of New Zealand country will be realized as well. Furthermore, the Resource Management Act 1991 (the Act) recognizes that there is a particular need for clear guidelines to ensure effective national protection of all the New Zealand rivers and lakes (Davies-Colley et.al, 2011). The acts explains that there should be effective management of the catchment areas to protect the freshness of water in the New Zealand Rivers and lakes.

There is also the policy statement that sets out the policies and the objectives of the direct involvement of the government to manage water for irrigation and integrated sustainable ways which provides for the economic growth within the set quality and quantity limits. The increase in the economic needs of the people increases the demand for the fresh water as it is vital in agricultural and other production sectors. It is therefore, important to address the states of water quality in North and South Islands of New Zealand. Focusing on the state of rivers found in New Zealand is significant for the economic growth of all the regions in the New Zealand. It is important to focus on the state of rivers found in Hamilton, Wellington, Nelson and Christchurch.

The rivers that will be taken into consideration for assessment of water quality are the Waikato, Clutha, Whangau, Taieri, Rangitikei, Mataura, Waiau, Clarence, Waitaki, Oreti, Rangitaiki, Buller/Kawatiti, Waihou, Mohaka, Wairaau, Whaehu, Waimakariri, Mokau and Ngaruroro (Davies-Colley et.al, 2011).

Table showing the mean, medians and ranges of rivers regarding the water quality.

River Mean medians Ranges

Waikato 3.733 4 1.22

Clutha 4.452 2 2.33

Whangau2.342 8 6.22

Taieri2.431 6 4.32

Rangitikei 4.357 2 2.57

Mataura 2.768 2 0.76

Waiau4.323 11 7.323

Clarence 1.234 9 8.23

Waitaki, 4.562 2 2.32

Oreti4.342 1.2 3.32

Rangitaiki3.341 1.2 2.32

Buller/Kawatiti4.321 3 1.23

Waihou2.321 3 1.34

Mohaka2.132 2 0.132

Wairaau2.321 5.6 3.232

Whaehu, 1.222 2.3 1.333

Waimakariri1.234 5 4.231

Mokau1.453 5 4.322

Ngaruroro 1.543 6 5.123

Waikato is a river that is found in the North Island. It measures425 kilometers in length. The river rises on the eastern slopes of Mount Ruapehu and joins the Tongariro River, which empties its water to Lake Taupo which is also a New Zealands largest lake. It drains it to water at Taupo at the Northeastern edge of the region (New Zealand, 2012). The rivers start at a small stratum on the eastern slopes of Mount Ruapehu, which is considered one of its principle source. Its extending engineering is used to generate hydroelectric power. The river has tunnels and canals that have been utilized in the Tangariro Power scheme.The water in this river has been conserved such that it is quality and can be used for human consumption. It has however been noted that there are some human practices that may pollute this river. For example the farming practices carried out at the slopes of the river have seen the carrying of soul from the slopes to the river. The government of New Zealands under the water and environmental management authorities. The mean of the mean site parameters of the river is 3.7 333. This means that the sites ranges from the slope to the lakes where the river empties its water. It is significant because it provides relevant information concerning the quality of water in the river and in its surroundings.

The filament growth is seen to be 32.3% and this the total cover of the rivers. The rivers are known to have a filament of 30% of the cover being filamentous algae. The mean cover of the rivers are important because they can be used to explain the temporal conditions of the rivers. The sites of the rivers were ranging from 0-57 for the mat materials and this was attributed to all the rivers across the New Zealand and the periphyton covers.

The data shows that human activities in the catchment areas determine the quality if water. The poor farming methods adopted by farmers in Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch regions of the New Zealand have led to the occurrence of nuisance periphyton in most of the rivers. Analysis of the trends in in annual average and annual maximum periphython has recently decreased from the sites of 17 to the sites of 14. This indicates that the human activities in the upper slopes of these rivers have increased the occurrence of esthetic nuisance levels of periphyton in the above twenty rivers within the New Zealand. It is however noted that there is no evidence in the pattern and the increase of nutrient concentration as expected. The range of the rivers from 2-9 indicates that there is a mild organic pollution of about 80%. This suggests that the MCI values between 20-90 produces moderate pollution to the rivers and this also requires immediate address by the water quality assessment officers to ensure the quality of water (Barica & Mur, 2000).

The rivers have an operational improvement to to the improved staff morale and engagement in the management of the rivers. The staff managing the rivers gave developed the trust and thus have adequately addressed the pollution of the rivers and that has led to the improvement of water quality in all the rivers in both the North and South Islands of New Zealand. The temporal sites of these rivers are considered to be homogenous land use. This indicates that there is the unequivocal indication of the land use impacts in the rivers. A mean of 3.2 in the rivers data shows that the lake and river ecological communities are healthy and resilient and is similar to the natural references and the conditions of these rivers. However a range of 2 to 5 means that the lake and river ecological communities might be slightly impacted by additional plant growth and algal that have arose due to the high nutrient levels in the rivers and lakes. Furthermore, a range of 12 to 60 indicates that the river and lake ecological communities have undergone high risk as there is a persistent degraded state in the rivers as a result of the elevated nutrients that leads to excessive buildup of algal and plant growth. This has also been associated with the loss of oxygen in the bottom waters of the rivers and the deep sites of the lakes. The mean of 40 indicates that there is the occasional blooms that reflects the low nutrient enrichment and the alteration of the natural flow of the water and the regimes found in the river and water regions. It is also known that there is the regular and extended nuisance blooms reflecting the quality of water as far as pollution is concerned.

The NO3_N/P of between 1.0 and 1.5 indicates that there is a high conservation value system. This indicates that there might be likely effects on the quality of the water from these rivers which might also affect the sensitive species. Furthermore, the NO3_N/P of 1.0 to 3.5 indicates that there are some growth effects of more than 5% of the all the aquatic species while the remaining percentage of the species are unable to survive under such conditions (Barica & Mur, 2000). What is more, the growth of 20% of the quality species indicates that the water quality is increasing and thus favoring the survival of all species within and outside the rivers and lakes. The impact of multiple species growth approaches the acute impact when it is 9.8 and this indicates the high risk faced by the users of the river water and the lakes.

In most rivers, it is seen that there is the NH4_N/L indicates that 99% of the species living in the protected level in both the rivers and the lakes. It also known that 95% of the protected levels have increased after some time in the rivers and the lakes and this shows that the authority dealing with water quality are managing the rivers and lakes well after its impacts were felt. The dissolve oxygen is significant for the water quality and that there is no occasional stress in the river and lake waters which favor the growth of aquatic species.

The variation parameters are important in that they build the baseline for the establishment of policies that guides the protection of both rivers and lakes. By comparing the baseline range of data available for different rivers and lakes in New Zealand, the water and environmental management authorities are in a position to know the amount of water that is poorly treated. When the authorities are in a position to figure out the state of water in their areas, they come up with appropriate strategies that will be used to address the situation. The human impacts are significant when addressing the quality of water in the rivers and lakes. When a river is polluted, the significance of the pollution can be traced to the human activities in the upper slopes of t...

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